Sunday Snippet: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

I blog six times a week here on Beyond the Rhetoric. I also write extensively for my clients, I post photos on Flickr and Instagram, and I upload videos to YouTube from time to time. It’s not that I have inspiration spilling out of my ears, but I do appreciate having multiple channels to express my creativity. Likely a big part of all this is that my brain never really stops working. I’m always thinking about something, as illustrated by the “Thinker” logo that I use for this blog. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

Many thoughts aren’t particularly useful or interesting. I could be considering what I’ll cook for dinner tonight or why sheep’s wool feels the way that it does. When inspiration does strike, though, I want to make sure that I have my smartphone, PC or a pad of paper on hand to record it. I keep an ongoing list of possible blog topics for Beyond the Rhetoric, so if I don’t have a good idea one day, I can always turn to my list. Leonard Bernstein told us that we can’t wait for inspiration, so we must “develop an approach for the rest of the time.” My list is one of those approaches.

But artist Pablo Picasso is absolutely right in the quote above. You don’t necessarily need to be actively working, per se, but you do need to be thinking about a task, a project or a goal if you want to come up with a creative solution for it. Inspiration may not appear out of thin air, though it does arrive at the most sporadic at times. If you are not prepared for the arrival of your muse, you won’t even notice that she is there. And then you’ll wonder why you’re never feeling all that inspired. You have to seek her out and hope that she pays you a visit.

You might also remember that Picasso told us creativity is incompatible with common sense. It is only when you go beyond what is considered reasonable, only when you look toward the outrageous and the absurd, that you can be treated to the most amazing inspiration.

Everything you can imagine is real.

Your thoughts are real. The challenge is imagining the most interesting ones.